Nature, Uncategorized, Writing Prompts

Tonight’s supermoon and thoughts on perspective

Tonight – August 10th – is seemingly the largest full moon of 2014. Be sure to check it out!

supermoon 2014
In the meantime, here’s some food for thought on perspective.

Writing prompt: Write about how a person (or one of your characters) can change how others view him or her without actually changing who he or she is. Please share on your blog or in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Tonight’s supermoon and thoughts on perspective”

  1. In October, I moved in to a retirement community, a tall apartment complex housing a bunch of old forgotten people like myself for whom the world has little further need.

    Not a nursing home mind you, with its poor old souls more gone or going than not, waiting somewhere inside of themselves for a merciful deity to open the gate and bring them home. I may lay in those beds and ride in those chairs soon enough, for inside of me I too am ready for home and loved ones gone too far from these cold and empty arms.

    But in retirement centres, you see, we are old but have not entirely forgotten the busy and productive lives we lived out in the world, the burdens we took upon ourselves, the contributions we made to our families and our communities, and of course the inevitable longing for the end of it all when we could retire and enjoy our waning years.

    But comes the time, I will warn you, the tide of activity and purpose ebbs and flows out leaving a desolate shoreline covered with the detritus of our lives, the ongoing relationships willy-nilly re-ordered by our circumstances, the debts that remain unpaid, the old dreams never achieved, and many never even pursued in lives too busy with the living of it.

    What do we do here? We adjust to harsh new realities. We learn to surrender what we have loved and cling instead to memories of what we have lost. We make new friends that we do not plan long to keep, treasuring them for who they are here and now, our allies and our confidants, our comrades and companions, not for who they will become.

    But there is treasure upon these shores which only the lost and stranded will ever find. I have met a woman who joined the army during World War II and transferred to the Army Air Corps early on. She speaks of common events and common valour. She was the first woman to be a district commander in the Tennessee American Legion to which she belonged for 62 years. I have learned much else about her and others. A gentleman here helped significantly in the designing of the Opryland Hotel complex, especially the front exterior. A woman here sang with the Chicago Opera. Every human life, like all those with whom I share my time in this retirement home, is a magnificent biography of a decent human life lived in relative anonymity, a life that tells a tale about achievements and disappointments, tangled and failed relationships (and others filled with love and grace over long years), a life touched by drama and adventure or perhaps a life born patiently and quietly through toil and tedium. To learn the stories of common people is a treasure indeed.

    In movies and novels we are too often focused on fanciful humans who play the convenient roles of hero or villain, but have far too little of the precious fabric of true humanity. It is so easy to kill a heartless villain for our heroes. Fantasy people are easy to love and hate. We know who to cry for and who to despise. Most of us, I pray, know the difference between fantasy or fiction and the real common people of our common world. We do not need movies which conceal humanity and make it easier to judge people as heroes and villains, make it easier to hate the people who aren’t like us and accept without question the words of those who are like us. Here at this senior home, I have found stories of depth and substance about real people unshielded by glamour or infamy.

    I read once that Joseph Stalin would walk in his garden in the evening, feeding the birds and perhaps humming his favorite song, Suleko, about a lost love embodied in a rose. Suleko means “my soul”, a term of affection. When Stalin was a young freedom fighter in Tsarist Russia, he had such a true love, a cherished companion who died young. In his heartbreak, he vowed then that he would never love again, and perhaps he never truly did. But he never quit loving that special someone from his youth. We attribute millions of lost lives to this tyrant and mad man, but we do not see that even dark figures like Stalin are also human somewhere that we seldom look. Neither good nor evil are perfect within any of us. If you would paint a portrait, real or fantasy, remember that we are all caught in the play between light and shadow, and that common humanity is the foundation upon which all glamour is borne.

    Samm Crow

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